The Mizoram government on Thursday served a show-cause notice to a medical superintendent of State Referral Hospital and Zoram Medical College (ZMC) seeking an explanation from the latter why he did not approach the concerned authority (state government) before issuing a notification that all the COVID-19 infected and non-COVID-19 patients at the medical college will require to pay for Oxygen.

The official was asked to reply to the show-cause notice on or before May 12.

The show-cause notice issued by state health secretary Lalramnghaka said that Dr H.C. Laldina, the medical superintendent of State Referral Hospital at Falkawn issued an order on May 4 wherein it was ordered that all the COVID-19 infected and non-COVID-19 infected patients were required to pay a fee for usage of oxygen, ventilator or HFNC and the amount so realized is to be debited to Rogi Kalyan Samiti (RKS) account.

As any order under RKS has to be referred to the executive committee and governing board (as the case may be), the official was directed to clarify whether approval of the authorities was obtained or not, it said.

“Since, charging fees for usage of oxygen and HFNC/ventilators at the government Hospital especially during COVID-19 pandemic being a policy matter of government, you are hereby directed to clarify reasons for not approaching the government before issuance of the said order,” the notice said, adding that copy to the show cause notice may reach the health secretary’s office on or before May 12.

The medical superintendent order directing patients of both COVID-19 positive and non-COVID-19 positive drew flaks from several quarters.

According to the order, non-COVID-19 infected patients have to pay Rs 30 per hour for oxygen, while COVID-19 positive patients have to pay Rs 50 per hour for an oxygen flow rate up to 5 litre and Rs 75 per hour for flow rate 5 litres to 12 litres.

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As for the usage of ventilator or HFNC, Rs 120 per hour will be charged from COVID-19 positive patients, the order had said.

However, the order was revoked by the government on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, medical operational team chairman and ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) MLA Dr ZR Thiamsanga said that the team had proposed to the state government to appeal to government employees that they should donate part of their salaries to fight against COVID-19.

Thiamsanga’s clarification came amid criticism on the state government which came from different quarters for its proposed move.

The Medical operational team, which comprised of medical experts from both the state government and private hospitals, was set up last year to deal with COVID-19.

Health minister Dr Lalthangliana on Thursday convened a meeting of officials, community leaders and representatives of churches and civil society organisations to review the COVID-19 situation especially setting up of government COVID-19 Care Centre (CCC) or Community Covodi-19 Care Centre (CCCC) across the state to cope with facilities crunch, an official said.

The meeting pointed out that there are at present 36 CCCs across the state, including 11 in the Aizawl district, with a total capacity of 2,045, he said.

There are 2 paid CCCs in Aizawl, which can accommodate 41 patients, he said.

The official said that the state government is making effort to turn Mizoram Rural Bank head office at Mizo New Capital Complex in Aizawl into paid CCC.

Apart from the existing 10 CCCCs in Aizawl, efforts are on to set up other such facilities in the state, the official added.

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